Feb 12, 2024 - News

Last-minute Valentine's Day date ideas in Tampa, St. Pete

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Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

It's officially love week. 🫶

Yes, and: If you've also been known to blow deadlines and misspell "prix fixe" (shout-out to the readers who caught that in our last Valentine's Day story), you may be looking for some date spots on the cheaper side that don't require reservations.

What's happening: We rounded up some of our favorite intimate restaurants and parks to take your special someone — or yourself. We love a solo date.

  • The Chattaway in St. Pete has a cute patio with twinkly lights, tropical foliage and live music. Entrees max out at $25 with tons of cheaper options. A warning that it's cash only but there's an ATM on-site.
  • Just down the street, Old Southeast Market has amazing poke bowls starting at $9.99. We'd recommend taking them to Lassing Park for a sunset picnic. Make sure to use the restroom at the market; there are none in the park.
  • Speaking of sunsets, the beach is always a great date destination. We're partial to Sunset Beach, but Pass-a-Grille or Upham Beach are also lovely. For food, check out a watering hole like Caddy's or Hurricane, or go the classic Floridian route of grabbing a pub sub on the way.
  • There's nothing cozier than spicy broth, and Nine Spices Hot Pot in Pinellas Park has some of the best. The restaurant offers all-you-can-eat options for its prized hot pot and Korean BBQ: $28.99 for just hot pot, $30.99 for Korean BBQ and $33.99 for both. Bonus: It's open until 1am.
  • In Tampa, the Independent bar and cafe has that intimate, neighborhood bar vibe that's perfect for date nights. It has a wide selection of beer and wine and some A+ sandwiches starting at $10. Plus, it's in Seminole Heights within walking distance of more bars and restaurants.
  • Ricks on the River boasts beautiful views of the eponymous Hillsborough River. The classic Tampa spot has an oyster bar and a menu full of seafood, sandwiches, wraps and salads starting at $9.99.
  • And finally … sometimes a chain restaurant just hits the spot. Don't sleep on Olive Garden and its unlimited breadsticks (they're vegan). California Pizza Kitchen is offering heart-shaped pizzas. And nothing says "I love you" like all-you-can-eat boneless wings, riblets and shrimp for $14.99. 🫡 Applebee's.

The bottom line: You can have a fun, romantic night with minimal planning and without breaking the bank.

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